Friday newsbriefs

June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gordon Murray, designer of cars as diverse as the McLaren F1 and his own T.25 and T.27 city cars, has now created a supercar for a superhero: he’s made-over the Batmobile. His vision for the carbonfibre-bodied car – to star in the upcoming Batman Live stage show – demonstrates all his aerodynamic know-how, with an F1-style rear wing and wheel housings for downforce, plus (theoretically) hydrogen fuel cell power. Handy gadgets include radar jamming and ‘Bat Grip’ controls which will only respond to our superhero’s touch. So far, so feasible, though the ‘diode virtual wheels’ which can generate an electric forcefield for hovercraft-style levitation, and the carbon-ceramic afterburners, are more the stuff of comic-book fantasy. Gallery of pictures at Car magazine.

  • The Virginia Tech HEVT (Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team) has won the three-year GM-sponsored EcoCar Challenge. Their Chevy crossover was converted to a plug-in hybrid, E85-compatible powertrain, giving a 50-mile all-electric range and 100mpg. More on the competition at the Green Garage Blog.
  • It’s nearly e-Miglia time again: this year’s electric vehicle rally kicks off August 1st from Munich, travelling 800km to St Moritz through the Alps. Cars taking part this year include the C-Zero, iON, i-MiEV, Smart fortwo ed, Think City, Tesla Roadster, Mini E and Aixam MegaVan, as well as more obscure and prototype vehicles from Ruf (911-based Roadster and Coupe, called eRuf), Jetcar, Pedelec (electric bicycle), Stromos (based on the Suzuki Splash), Tazzari and Twike (a three-wheeler).
  • Volkswagen is to offer a plug-in hybrid version in every model range, with the first coming 2013, reports Auto Motor und Sport. CEO Martin Winterkorn said that plug-in hybrids and range-extended EVs are more viable than all-electric cars for the next decade.
  • Mitsubishi is to introduce a lower-cost version of the i-MiEV in Japan, with cheaper batteries reducing range to 75 miles (from 100).
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